THE new heating oil package for the North will be doubled from £100 to £200 and paid ‘to all households’, but exactly when people will get it is the big issue.
The oil payment was announced last Thursday by Chancellor Jeremy Hunt as part of his Autumn Statement, and the Treasury said the payment would be delivered ‘as soon as possible’ this winter.
Local oil supplier Garry Jennings agreed it was good news that the heating oil support package was being doubled, but households needed to know when they would receive it for several reasons.
“The question is when will the money be paid to people here?” Mr Jennings asked.
“Everyone will be encouraged by this news and will be pricing around to get the best value for money. But because they have no idea when they will be getting the payment, it’s hard to know how much to buy.
“It’s difficult for households to price oil [for the best value] and know what to spend when they have no idea when they’ll get this [heating oil payment].
“Suppliers will also only be able to hold that price for a certain length of time so that complicates things too. Everything is still up in the air.”
The heating oil support package will come on top of a separate £400 credit payment though it’s not clear when either will be issued to households here as a result of the lack of a Northern Ireland Executive.
The Democratic Unionist Party is refusing to return to Stormont’s power-sharing executive government until the Northern Ireland Protocol is either scrapped or changed.
Oil prices have decreased on the world market over the past two weeks Mr Jennings confirmed, however, the recent dip in oil prices doesn’t necessarily mean people will be saving money either.
“Don’t forget, we’re getting into November and the cold weather is coming in. People will naturally be using more oil,” he said.
“Oil has been lasting longer as it’s been a mild year up until now, but that’s going to change as the winter goes on. When we get to Christmas time, £200 or £300 of oil just won’t last as long.”
Home heating oil is the main fuel used by households in Northern Ireland.
According to the latest information from the Consumer Council, home heating oil in Northern Ireland stands at an average cost of £274 for 300 litres, while it works out at £442 for 500L and £784 for 900L.
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